The Music for All Blog
The Music for All Blog



Music for All's efforts to create, provide and expand positively life-changing experiences through music for all include awarding a number of scholarships each year to students who are financially unable to attend MFA programs without financial assistance.

These scholarships assist with financial support for MFA programs like Summer Symposium, which is located at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Music for All has two scholarship opportunities for students:

Honoring the life and work of L.J. Hancock, the L.J. Hancock Scholarship benefits individual students with financial need who are interested in attending the Summer Symposium. Applications are due by May 6, 2011. To apply, visit this page of our website.

The Indianapolis Public Schools Summer Symposium Scholarships allow IPS students the opportunity to attend Symposium through full scholarships. The staff and faculty of IPS Instrumental Music Programs choose the recipients for this scholarship award.

If you would like to make a positively life-changing impact on a student in need by supporting one of our scholarship funds for Summer Symposium, you can donate online, or call the Music for All Development Department for more information at 800-848-2263.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

You decide what matters.

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There has been a lot of activity on social networks this week by those who support/work for/have been impacted by non-profit arts organizations asking for your vote (and my vote) in the Chase Community Giving program underway on facebook (their tagline: "You decide what matters"). I've been encouraged by the sincere and enthusiastic support with which my friends and others have not only cast their vote, but helped to promote the opportunity and asked others to vote as well, not just for Music for All but for all the organizations they support.

What I've realized is this: most (okay, make that "all") non-profit arts organizations are constantly working to raise donations to fund their programs, working hard to try to keep the costs to customers and participants down as much as possible. If the ticket prices, the participation fees, the merchandise sales alone had to entirely fund the expenses of our programs without donations from individuals and organizations and our partner sponsorships, I think there would be a serious case of sticker shock.

What is exciting about something like the Chase Community Giving program is that with its presence on facebook, it is visible to so many people who otherwise might not be in contact with the organizations that they care about. Not only that, but it gives everyone the power, by their vote, to help support those organizations.

More than 1.3 million people have participated or attended Music for All, Bands of America and Orchestra America programs. How many of you are on facebook? How many of you can vote to help bring these same experiences to more students and teachers in the years to come?

So, I'm asking you to please take a moment and vote for Music for All and nine other organizations that you care deeply about (they give each person 10 votes; you have to "like" the page first then you can cast your vote). Please cast your vote by May 4 and help us continue this important work: making these music education programs available for students and teachers across the country.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Everyone Can Make a Difference

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How many of you are watching Secret Millionaire, a new show on ABC? For those of you who haven’t seen the show, the very basic premise is that self-made millionaires embark on a weeklong journey where they spend time volunteering in some of the poorest areas of the country. At the end of their journey, the millionaires make an impact by presenting a donation to the organizations where they've volunteered.

What really piques my interest about the show is the hope that is emanating from so many of these organizations, even though they are faced with uncertainty. I think they have hope because they are living their mission and changing the lives of those they serve.

I am personally impressed by the willingness of the millionaires to diverge from their every-day lives and live a life of poverty for one week, all while giving of their time and, eventually, their treasure to deserving organizations.

Even though I’m not a millionaire, I know that I can do some of the same things the “Secret Millionaires” are doing but on a smaller scale. I wonder what would happen if each of us considered making just one sacrifice? For example, you could take your lunch to work every day for a week or bypass your morning latte for one week, in order to donate those extra funds to Music for All.

Each and every one of you can help to support Music for All’s mission to create, provide and expand positively life-changing experiences through music for all. Best of all, you don’t have to be a “Secret Millionaire” to make a difference!

I look forward to hearing from you about how you plan to be positively life-changing. What a powerful statement we could make to change the future of music and arts education if we all had a passion for our mission mixed in with hope and a little bit of sacrifice. Let’s see if the idea of the “Secret Millionaire” can spread to all of us!


Misty D. Wick, Director of Development and Partnerships

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

2011 Music for All National Festival

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The 2011 Music for All National Festival was an amazing showcase of the finest youth musicians from across the nation who gathered in Indianapolis on March 16-19. The excitement and musicianship that 1,950 participants possessed was exhilarating. The passion felt for active music making was at an all time high in the city, with activities taking place at three premier venues and more than 30 hours of concerts showcasing students. 

“I think it was just a superb activity to showcase some of America’s finest young musicians, “ said John Carroll, director, Permian High School Percussion Ensemble. “I applaud MFA for the opportunity of a lifetime for these students.” 

The Music for All mission to create, provide and expand positively life-changing experiences through music for all was truly at work in these youth. Student participants performed challenging music in premier venues, developed leadership skills, made new friends and learned from some of the top music educators in the nation.

“It was without a doubt the best week and best experience of my life,” said Ryan Flint, participant. “I met people who will surely be lifelong friends, played in a fantastic band and grew a huge amount as a musician.”

The students who participate in the Music for All Festival grow so much as musicians while they are immersed in a weekend of active music making. However, for all of our students, directors and parents, there is so much sacrificed for their children to participate in world-class activities such as the Music for All National Festival. These directors and families make these sacrifices in order for their students to experience top quality performance opportunities with other students from around the nation who share the same love and passion for music. These sacrifices are priceless though when you hear the first and final notes of world-class concert performance by extremely talented youth musicians, or you see a student play a duet with Allen Vizzutti during a soulful jazz concert, or your student takes a master class from a world-renowned percussionist. These experiences are made possible because Music for All knows the value music has in all of our lives. Music for All really is music for a lifetime.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

2011 Revelli Scholarship Award

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The 2011 Revelli Scholarship was awarded to Caroline White from Atholton High School in Maryland at the Music for All National Festival. The scholarship is awarded in memory of Dr. William D. Revelli, one of America’s foremost band conductors and the icon for whom the Revelli Foundation was created and named in 1994. The Revelli Scholarship honors Dr. Revelli’s vision for music education.

“I sincerely love music in all of its forms and want to teach others to love it as well, because it has positively influenced my life and will undoubtedly do the same for future generations,” said White.

The Revelli Scholarship is a $1,000 award given annually to a senior who will be attending college as a music major and who has participated in the Music for All National Festival.

This year’s recipient is an outstanding student, musician and community leader. She has participated in her school wind ensemble, marching band, orchestra, jazz band and pit orchestra as well as many community music groups. She received the honor of being chosen to participate in the National Symphony Orchestra Young Associates program at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. According to her band director, he feels very lucky to have taught such a talented student and musician.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Remembering Bill Cook

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If you are a fan of marching music who spends time online, you have probably already heard of the passing of Bill Cook, founder of Cook Group Incorporated, and of Star of Indiana and Blast. It seems like anyone who met Mr. Cook has memorable stories to share. Hearing of his passing reminded me of the first time I met him.

In 1994, Star of Indiana Drum and Bugle Corps reinvented itself as Brass Theatre, touring with The Canadian Brass. That June, Brass Theatre with The Canadian Brass was an event at the then-Bands of America Summer Symposium in Normal, Illinois. I believe it was their first performance for the general public.

As the concert hall doors opened, I was asked to run up to the mezzanine and hold the first row of seats for Mr. Cook, his wife and some guests who were coming over from Bloomington, Indiana. When I got to the mezzanine, a few folks who came in right as doors opened had already claimed the front row of seats. I asked them if they would mind moving back a row as I needed to reserve the first row for some special guests, and they kindly obliged.

As the hall filled, I watched the aisles for the Cooks, whom I had never met. I was standing in front of a gentlemen who was one of the people I had asked to move. He asked me who I was reserving the seats for, and I explained I was holding them for Bill Cook, founder of the show, and his guests. He nodded and asked me a lot of questions about the show, about BOA and the summer camp, and we talked all the way up until just before showtime.

With five minutes left, I was concerned because Mr. Cook had not yet arrived. Scott McCormick, then President of Bands of America, walked down the aisle steps toward me as I gestured with hands wide and a shrug that Mr. Cook and his guests had never arrived. As he reached me at the front of the mezzanine, he looked at the people I had moved back a row and said to the gentleman I'd spent the past 25 minutes talking to: "Mr. Cook! I'm so glad you made it."

Mrs. Cook and the rest of the group burst into laughter at the look on my face. I'll never forget the smile Mr. Cook gave me then. We'd had wonderful conversation, and he was so unassuming that I never would have guessed that he was the larger-than-life person I was looking for.

If you have a memory of Mr. Cook to share, I invite you to comment here.

You also might enjoy James Mason's message at

- Deb Asbill, Music for All

I have to admit, I'm pretty excited about this: I've been working with several of our incredible session presenters at summer camp to make available for free viewing several sessions from last June's McCormick's Enterprises Directors' Academy at the Music for All Summer Symposium, presented by Yamaha.

The available sessions are:

Michael Gray – The Artist Within Us
Michael Klesch – Full Ensemble Technique, with Carolina Crown
Tim Lautzenheiser – Directors Closing Keynote Session
Alfred Watkins – Stretching the Skills (Not the Band)

These sessions were previously only available to subscribers (or On Demand) on the MFA Fan Network. Because there's no better way to describe to band directors the kind of outstanding sessions they will experience at the Summer Symposium than to SHOW examples, for the first time we're featuring four sessions online, at least through June 20.

A new video is now online, about the Drum Instructor Academy at the Music for All Summer Symposium, presented by Yamaha. The video features some of the greatest names in marching percussion, on faculty at the DIA, including James Campbell, Thom Hannum and Colin Firth. Check it out!

We've started posting the lists of enrolled bands for the 2011 Bands of America Championships, presented by Yamaha. You can get to the lists by show from the Full Fall Schedule page.

Music for All's process for publishing who is enrolled in shows is to communicate that information first to the enrolled bands' directors. After we've communciated the info to the directors, then we publish the list for each respective show. If there is not a live link for a show on the schedule page then we are in the midst of that process for that show and will publish the information as soon as it has been communicated to the enrolled band directors.

The preliminary performance times will be published online later this fall. Performance schedules are not published or made available prior to that time, and then only after they have been sent to the performing bands.

We know that there is a lot of interest in what bands are performing this fall, we're excited, too! Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work to make the information available to you as quickly as we can.

- Deb Asbill, Music for All

Here are a couple of news stories today about local music making, with a Music for All connection.

"Special program helps needy students in Norwin make music"

This Norwin H.S. Band, PA benefit, called "Suite Cafe," will offer live musical performances by Norwin students and instructors in a coffeehouse atmosphere. Proceeds help students attend summer camps, including the Music for All Summer Symposium.

Indiana University Music Industry students create and present "Local Vocals,"
proceeds benefiting Music for All.
Good things are being accomplished by people everyday!
– Deb Asbill, Music for All